Shirtwaist dresses are named for their shirt-like bodice (most commonly a button down style). The style has been popular since the 19th century, when the shirt and skirt were actually separate pieces, but its heyday was the 1950's. From Dior's New Look to I Love Lucy, the shirtwaist dress was a staple of fifties fashion, worn by teenagers, housewives, and socialites alike.
If you prefer a contemporary look, you can still find lots of great shirt dresses in today's styles. Over a century and still going strong--the shirtwaist dress is a true classic!